Profiles

MY LOOK: Bella Cat

BY ANASTASIA PHILOPOULOS

This articles was originally published in the Summer 2015 print edition of
Ottawa Magazine.

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Bella Cat is dressed in a vintage dress from a market in Paris, a Cheshire Cat ring and a Bhudda ring. She’s holding an Astatic D104 mike that dates back to the 1930s and is still used by audio enthusiasts. Photo: Jessica Deeks

On Wednesday, July 15,  you’ll be performing at this year’s Bluesfest. This comes from time spent developing a unique sound up in the Gatineau Hills, where you’re from. How did you start singing?

When I was 12, my mom picked me up from school and said, “I’ve put you in singing lessons.” I wasn’t that happy. After that, I just kept singing, and now I’m very grateful. My mom said I sang every day, so she thought, I’m just going to put her into singing lessons. It’s been the last two to three years I’ve been trying to do this professionally. In the last year and a half, it’s really taken off.

This will be your second summer performing at Bluesfest. How would you describe your sound?

It starts off bluesy. The base of our style is blues, but I think it’s more of a future soul. That’s what we like to call it.

I understand Bella Cat is not your real name. How did you dream up your
stage name?

I have a very close cousin who calls me Bella because of my beautiful spirit, but everyone else calls me Cat. So I like to think of it like “the beautiful cat,” as I am one with the universe and nature (although I’m allergic to cats).

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Bella Cat is playing at Bluesfest on Wednesday, July 15 on the Monster Energy Stage at 6 p.m. Photo: Jessica Deeks

What’s your personal style like?

It’s very natural and hippie, kind of a rustic look. I really like to wear rings, jewellery, and feather earrings. There’s this woman, Natalie Lipson, whose earrings I love to wear. The company is called Pluma — very cool stuff. I also do a lot of vintage shopping and love Indian clothing, like paisleys, scarves, and long shirts. I love wearing patterns, and I like them all together — polka dots with a striped shirt is great. Normally, I’m a barefoot kind of girl unless I’ve got some comfortable heels. But I’m not a big heels person unless it’s like a big platform, like a Spice Girls platform — I’ll wear that.

Where do you like to shop?

I generally get my clothing abroad so that it’s a unique piece and nobody can get it. The dress I’m wearing is from Paris, from the Hippy Market. We went there to see Jim Morrison’s grave. Temple in Wakefield is a great place too. I love them there. When I went to Nashville, I got a lot of those vintage Nashville cowgirl dresses. Europe was great, and New York City is where I got my Bella Cat jacket. It’s leopard print with red trimming, and people love it. I wear it to my gigs.

Anything you like to wear specifically when performing?

I think it was Sharon Jones who told me “the best outfits on stage come with sequins and sparkles.” And I agree 100 percent. I also wear earth-tone colors, like sky blues, grass greens, pinks, and purples on a regular day, and then when I’m on stage, it’s more spicy and edgy.

You have a unique sound in music. Do you find that’s reflected in the way
you dress?

Yeah, I’d say so. I like to present myself as an easygoing, worry-free, love-all-around person. So when I wear my clothes, it’s either very flattering and pretty or just loosey-goosey and relaxed.